m a g a z i n e
came true for
Contents Table of
In Your Eyes
From Teen Mom to Global Business Owner
Five Words That Changed Everything
Beyond the Shattered Glass
The Gift of Love
Standing For Love
The Demonstration of Love
Now God, What About That Grammy?
When Love Happens
A Comedian To Always Remember
Music of the Mind and Heart
JABarnes Photography LLC
Paths to Success
I Sing to Heal Souls
Comedian Wavey Crockett
Comedian Mic Larry Reveals All
A Laugh Accompanied By A Beautiful Smile
Keeping Up With the Joneses
Pronounce Your Presence
From the Editor communiqué Magazine is an international publication that celebrates people from around the world. Everyone has a story. communiqué Magazine takes the message out of the story to deliver quality, relatable articles that inspire, teach, and encourage all readers, including children. The Holiday season has started, and many people are celebrating around the world with great anticipation for the turn of the calendar year to 2021. This is our final regular issue for 2020. We will release a Special Holiday Edition on December 25, 2020. The theme of our December issue is ‘Love’. Brian McKnight is our featured Cover story, and we are both humbled and honored to share his story with our readers. Celebrity Writer, C. NaTasha Richburg delivers a great and heartwarming article that is perfect for the theme and holiday season. Brian McKnight has released 15 albums to date, with several going 2 and 3x platinum, and he has sold over 25 million albums worldwide. In addition to being a singer, songwriter and producer, McKnight is also a multi-instrumentalist who plays nine instruments including piano, guitar, bass, drums, percussions, trombone, tuba, flugelhorn and trumpet. Along with several Grammy nominations, Brian McKnight has been the recipient of American Music Awards, Soul Train Awards, NAACP Image and Blockbuster Awards, and Billboard Songwriter of The Year. He has crossed the boundaries of EVERY medium. He has hosted “Soul Session Countdown with Brian McKnight” on BETJ. In addition, “The Brian McKnight Morning Show” on KTWV the Wave Smooth Jazz radio station, was a Top 5 rated show 2 years running. In 2009 Brian started hosting his own radio show “The Brian McKnight Show” which ran in over 60 markets and was syndicated through ABC Radio. Brian also hosted his own nationally syndicated TV show “The Brian McKnight Show”. We wish Brian, and wife Lelani, a Happy Anniversary this month! We have so many more articles of great stories, beautiful words of encouragement, and a look at love from many perspectives. Everything from romantic love to self-love is covered in this issue. This issue is a keepsake for those times that you need to be reminded of the power of love. Thank you for taking time to read communiqué Magazine. This issue is dedicated to everyone that reads this publication. You have made the last six months, our tenure in business, a true success and I love everyone that supports my mission to spread positive messages of encouragement. With appreciation, C.
IN YOUR EYES
written by Corretta L. Doctor
In your eyes I see kindness | In your eyes I see honesty In your eyes I see patience | Oh, baby, in your eyes I see love Lyrics “In Your Eyes”– Shirley Murdock The song “In Your Eyes” starts out with the unforgettable, heart penetrating sound of Shirley Murdock singing these words, “When I woke up this morning, the very first thing I saw was your face”. The love ballad peaked at #7 on Billboard’s R&B Singles chart in 1991, making it a top 10 R&B hit for the amazing singer! Popularly, it became a wedding song and Shirley tells us, “It was a song I wrote about my husband.” Now that is the kind of song Shirley likes to sing about! Shirley has been married to her wonderful husband Dale Anthony DeGroat for over three decades. They have a beautiful, everlasting love story! Today we don’t often hear of long lasting love stories like Shirley and Dale’s. Love is a true matter of the heart and when you see that love is the foundation of why you are a part of the relationship, you will never forget the reasons for being together. Love is one of the strongest emotions you will ever experience, why not make it beautiful? Shirley Murdock, she is so much more than a beautiful voice. This Woman of God has a message for you in every song she sings. She never departed from her roots
in Gospel music. Her very first R&B album included ‘Tribute’ and it was to remind people of God, and as she promised God, she would always remember him and never toss her relationship with him aside even when she sang rhythm and blues. “I would take my relationship with God with me and show that love wherever I’d go. Music is so powerful.” Shirley says we need music that we can go to when we are down and depressed, so it can lift us up. “We need love music to remind us why we fell in love in the first place because there is so much divorce and division between couples, and gospel music tells people about God’s love. We need to be able to get inspiration and be able to go get it from music. We need socially conscious message songs that deal with what is going on in society today.” Shirley is working on a cover of “People Get Ready”, and she says that everybody is praying for change. “We have to pray and get ready for change. I grew up with music like What’s Going On, Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud.. and another song, my husband loves Young, Gifted, and Black. So, for me my genre is life songs”. Shirley came straight out of the choir stand. “Shirley
Murdock & Co. is the name I called my group whenever I did a Gospel Concert. I mainly sang in my church choir, and made numerous appearances as a soloist in churches all over Toledo, Detroit, and surrounding areas. I sang at funerals and weddings, but my first R&B concert EVER, didn’t happen until I moved to Dayton in 1983 to make my record and started touring with Roger and Zapp”. Keeping up with the small gig fees where an artist is paid to sing, with no consideration for the costs of the outfit, the hair, and the group fees was not easy. So, at the end of the day, from a financial standpoint it was just not balancing out. As a young artist, you have to invest in yourself, but with the monies she was earning, Shirley couldn’t see profitability. “Prior to meeting Roger Troutman, I had NO aspirations of being an R&B singer! My heart’s desire was set only on singing Gospel”, says Shirley. Shirley left Toledo and went to make a living in Columbus, Ohio to work with a ministry team named The End Time Revival Evangelistic Crusade (TETREC). When she got laid off from TETREC, she came back to Toledo. In the interim, Shirley’s cousin had a cassette tape of Shirley singing ‘Jesus is Love’. Roger and Larry Troutman, two founding members of the 1980’s funk group, ‘Zapp’, heard the cassette tape and met with Shirley. She went to talk with Roger and told him, ‘thank you, but no thank you’ because she wanted to sing Gospel. “I always thought I’d sing gospel, but those doors never opened, so I just walked by faith through the door that opened for me”. Her big professional gigs came to life when she moved to Dayton, Ohio and joined Troutman Enterprises, she was 7
making a record. Her first job with Roger Troutman was a gig in Houston, Texas singing backup for him. She recalls that ‘The Deele’ and so many other groups were there. Her record wasn’t out yet, so she came out on stage and did a cover of ‘Freeway of Love’ by Aretha Franklin. Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight were Shirley’s main teachers. Shirley never studied music because she has a gift from God. She learned from the ‘greats’ and gleaned from the people that were doing what she wanted to do. She names the Clark Sisters, Shirley Caesar, and Stevie Wonder as influences in her career and says, “those people are all up in here (my voice) and they show up every now and then”. According to a recent article by Don Thrasher published in the Lifestyle section of Butler County, Ohio’s JournalNews, “From 1983 until the tragic deaths of Roger and Larry Troutman in 1999, Troutman Sound Labs was the home base for Dayton-based funk group Zapp. The recording studio at Salem Avenue and Catalpa Drive was the site of recordings by Zapp and solo work from Roger, Shirley Murdock and the Ohio Players' Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner. On Friday, Oct. 16, Murdock, the Troutman family, Mayor Nan Whaley and others gathered for a small public dedication for a new Ohio Historic Marker and musical sculpture by local artist Michael Bashaw”. Every superhero needs a theme song. Shirley wastes no time telling us that it’s time to flee from this crazy situation and she tells us that the enemy comes to kill and destroy…..oh those powerful words are belted out by many of us in Shirley’s song, “I Love Me Better Than That”. That song quickly became an anthem for hundreds
of thousands of people and it is a timeless message that echoes loudly to this day. “I Love Me Better Than That” Official Music Video: https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhyuQpNnkoU “I love country music. One of the drivers of our tour group used to always play country music and the music always told great stories. To me, it is just R&B with a twang. I like great country artists like Dolly Parton and so many others. The lyrics can speak for you if you don’t know what to say. Lyrics are powerful because it’s spirit and life. We have to be mindful with what we put in the atmosphere as ‘words’. Just like with ‘As We Lay’, when I was asked to do ‘As We Lay’, I wasn’t the first person to sing ‘As We Lay’. Billy Beck from the Ohio Players was the first. I told my manager (Larry Troutman), I know that ‘As We Lay’ is a hit, but I got a problem with it. I told him if I’m gonna sing the song, I am going to add these lyrics: We should’ve counted up the cost, but instead we got lost in the second, in the minute, in the hour. Because every decision that you make and the things that you do in your life, just doesn’t affect you, it affects everybody in your world. For one night, these people succumb to their emotions, flesh, and desires without thinking about in the morning….when the sun rises and everything you do in the dark is exposed by the light. Not thinking about the effect it’s going to have on everybody in their life: the wife, the possible children, the possible daughter growing up watching daddy cheating and now she has trust issues. See everything is connected. That is why I added that part. A lot of people couldn’t exactly “hear” that part but now I get a chance to go back and minister that song. They couldn’t hear it because they were in the middle of it, they were in the middle of an actual ‘as we lay situation’. The next record had a song called ‘Husband’. So, that was like the answer. If you messed up and you didn’t make a good decision then, now you can make a good decision. The songs says: I’m a lady with class, I know my desire will pass, this will not occur, you’re that lady’s husband so I’m letting you go”.
Shirley surely brought the vocals, but she is a writer, too. She reminds us, “The very first hit record that I wrote, and was a part of, was Computer Love.” A YouTube link has 38M+ Views of the memorable hit! Listen here: https:// youtu.be/_aVa7qVKUHI Shirley comes from a very large, close-knit family. Both of her parents are deceased. There were six children, three girls and three boys and Shirley is the baby girl. Shirley’s parents divorced many years ago and her Mom raised all of the children. Shirley is married to fellow music industry producer and businessman, Dale Anthony DeGroat, her husband of 32 years. Dale is also her business manager. Dale and Shirley have known each other for many years. Dale was Roger Troutman’s Music Director. Shirley and Dale were two church kids that were cut from the same cloth, they were both raised by their Mothers, they both knew how to talk about church and music! Shirley and Dale have one son, Devin DeGroat. He is a young man with an old soul! Devin is in graduate school studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling. He graduated from The Ohio State in 2014 and became Road Manager for Shirley until he left for grad school. Shirley and Dale are Co-Pastors of ministry that she defines as a church without walls, an online ministry, named ‘PRAYING4YOU’. It all began with a Wednesday NOON prayer hour and has evolved into a 14 year ministry. They also have meetings on Other days of the weeks along with Sunday worship and many other weeklong opportunities for Christian Education. They are also prison ministry leaders and they each minister in the prison systems. Since the COVID-19 restrictions, they now work solely from home and manage their online Ministry and Radio Show that plays 24/7 where you can tune in and listen to gospel music anytime. The website is www.praying4you.org . Please join Shirley and her husband in their endeavors to share God’s word. There are a variety of opportunities on their website for you to become fully engaged with their ministry.
Pages 9-11 Photographer: Jerry A Barnes Models: Ngozi Eme-Akwari Ronald Camom Wardrobe/Stylist: JABarnes Photography LLC 9
FROM TEEN MOM TO GLOBAL BUSINESS OWNER:
LETICIA CLARK-NWEZE Launches an International Online Clothing Boutique in a Pandemic written by Saadia White Leticia Clark-Nweze is one woman that fashion designers need to keep their eyes on. As Covid-19 swept through the world, Leticia was one of many that caught the virus. Without much medical information about the deadly infection, doctors instructed her to quarantine at home. After contracting the virus, she was left to battle it alone with her six-year-old son. (Her husband currently resides in Lagos, Nigeria, and was unable to be with her during this crucial time.) Fortunately, Leticia is no stranger when it comes to working under duress. The former teen mother, with no certainty that she would survive the virus, pushed past her pain and fear to launch Nkechi Designs. Nkechi Designs is an international, online artisan clothing boutique. A Florida native, Leticia Clark-Nweze was always a model student with a stellar academic background. But at age 17, Leticia wore another label as she traded her high school class president and debutante titles for motherhood. In the eyes of many, she was written off as a statistic and not expected
to succeed. But this is when the matriarchs of her family− mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother−stepped in to help her. Leticia’s mother had this to say to her: “What you are going to do is finish school. You ain’t the first and you ain’t going to be the last…You’re going to get your education and you will be a mother, but we will be here to help you. Those words rang true for Leticia as she was accepted into the School of Business and Industry program at Florida A&M University. She would go on to complete two full years but struggled with not being able to fulfill her obligations as a parent. Leticia made what she felt was the only decision to make and that was to discontinue her educational journey and return home to be a “present parent” in her eldest son’s life. “I made the decision that I wanted to be a present parent. As we get older, we understand the sacrifices that we make as parents. But for
a child, they don’t quite understand…I didn’t want a child of mine to ever think that there was something more important than them.’’ As a single mother not wanting to live off of minimum wage, Leticia entered into a career as a correctional officer. She worked her way up to a high-ranking supervisor with almost twenty years of service under her belt. She decided to leave corrections after launching her business. She works as a substitute teacher, supplementing her income while focusing on building her global brand. Nkechi Designs officially launched during the pandemic in March of 2020 and has become an online clothing store that is sourced out of Ghana and Nigeria. Leticia and her husband traveled to Nigeria in December of 2018 and January of 2020 and, after witnessing all the beautiful artistry and bright colored fabrics, her vision of a clothing line was formed. With her husband’s knowledge and connections in Nigeria coupled with her eye for art, her business went from vision to fruition. The following are some pearls of wisdom I received from her during our time spent together: How did you come up with the name Nkechi Designs? “Nkechi” means “God’s own.” My father-in-law gave it to me when I got engaged to my husband who is Nigerian and comes from the Igbo ethnic group, so I was given an Igbo name. What is your mission for Nkechi Designs? My mission is to showcase the artistry and handwork of Africans in Africa and in the African Diaspora.
effect of white. Being in white, you have to move a bit differently to keep it clean, so it makes you aware of self and your movement of your body and your positioning. Leticia grew up in a Southern Baptist household and has a strong prayer life. But the toxicity of her first marriage and the struggles she faced as a teen mom started her on the path to a spiritual journey in connection with the Ifa Orisha, which originates in the Yorubaspeaking areas of southwest Nigeria. I went through my divorce and, at some point, you break and you think you’re at your lowest. During that point of putting myself back together, I realized that I really didn’t know who I was…At 17, I became a mother and I wholeheartedly became a mother, so I wanted to take the time to pause for self-discovery. People were placed in my life to help me grow spiritually and I was able to find my voice and my light.
Leticia explained that as a little girl she only wore three colors−Khaki, black, and white−but always had a fine appreciation for the arts and bold colors. Her vision is to infuse the beautiful, vibrant colors and prints of her African ancestry and bring the African Diaspora to the traditional professional business suits that society has become so accustomed to. Even though Leticia incorporates a burst of bold and energetic colors of clothing art expressions, as a business owner, she still gravitates to the color white as her daily choice. You’ll see me in white a lot of the time, because of a spiritual journey I’m on. I have grown to love the calming
In a world where black and white has been the immediate focus of the media, this is the perfect time for this global fashion visionary to be that trendsetter by creating a more diversified, vivid image for the new generations of women entering into the Wall Street, political, and business arena. When asked what she would tell the teenage mother today, she said: Your toolbox needs to stay full and your instruments need to remain sharp… You do not have to go to college, but you can pick up a trade and have multiple streams of revenue… You have to be self-sufficient and to be selfsufficient, you have to have basic education and tools. You can follow Leticia Clark-Nweze at nkechidesigns.net and on her social media handles: • Instagram: @Nkechi_designs • Facebook: @Nkechi Designs
s k o o r B c i r E
FIVE WORDS THAT CHANGED
E V E RY T H I NG written by C. NaTasha Richburg
Eric Brooks was a student at Long Reach High School in Columbia, Maryland, slated to earn college credit for the H.S. computer programmer curriculum. English class changed Eric’s life focus the day he was given the assignment to write a paper about actors and actresses. Impressed by the passion and articulation of his expression in his paper, the teacher said five words that changed everything, “Eric, you are an actor.” Armed with this revelation, during the 2000-2001 school year Eric expanded his academic repertoire to include taking a Theater 101 course. The course afforded Eric a chance to try out for Pippin, a 1972 musical that tells the story of a young prince on his search for meaning and significance; Ben Vereen and Patina Miller won Tony Awards in the Broadway inaugural production. When did you know that acting was your life’s purpose? After auditioning for my first play called Pippin, I realized after going through the acting, singing and dancing rehearsals during tech week’s craziness (a week that technical issues, such as lighting and prop placement is finalized) that “I am an Actor.” The quest to live life on purpose has lead Eric to New York City (NYC) to attend the New York Film Academy. While in NYC, he studied film and theater, Method and Meisner and performed a mixture of scenes from different plays and films and played the lead actor in a movie called “Day Before Night.” After Eric completed his work at the Academy, he continued to perform in different films, commercials, TV shows, and plays. The single 38-year-old actor spent a portion of his summers in Cincinnati, Ohio with his mother, Darlene Brooks. In Ohio Eric learned about his mother’s side of the family while also going back home to Maryland to learn and spend time with
his father, Eric Brooks Sr. and learning and engaging with extended family members from Baltimore, Maryland. With his younger brother Duval Brooks by his side, Eric celebrates and reflects on positive encouragement from his large family and with friends as he forges ahead with his acting career. What is your dream role? I am very athletic and enjoy bowling, basketball, football, and fishing. I would like to play an athletic role involving football and basketball, or a role similar to that of “Ghost” on Power. What is your ultimate goal in life? I want to be the best at what I do regardless of the job. In order to achieve that, I learned that I must be an excellent teacher and an even better student. I am someone who is outgoing, funny, and smart, and I'm a fast learner. Family is very important to me, and being prepared for whatever task is ahead of me, I plan to live life to the fullest because life is too short. Eric truly lives the artistic lifestyle as he continues to work jobs outside of acting that allow him the freedom to continue to audition and travel when needed. The flexibility in his peripatetic job choices permits Eric to flow in and out of constant new experiences, meeting new people and exercising his ability to “make anyone around [him] comfortable.” What advice do you have for your 17-year-old self? It will be a bumpy ride, but enjoy it. Reach out to Eric at: firstname.lastname@example.org
s k o o r B c i r E 21
BE YOND T H E S H AT T ERED GL A S S :
THE STRUGGLE HAS NO HOLD ON THE
OUTCOME written by Saadia White
Can you see beyond the shattered glass? Do you feel helpless because you are struggling to deal with certain life circumstances that hinder your desired outcome? Welcome to the life of child sex abuse survivors around the world. You walk past a child sexual abuse victim every day: • the prostitute on the corner • the addict in the alleyway • the prisoner in jail • the doctor in the ER • the politician • and the list goes on. No sexual abuse survivor comes out unscathed. There are layers of scars mentally and or physically for the battle they won and the raging fire that burns within. If you ever meet or pass by Dr. Ketra DavenportKing, you would have no idea the fire that she escaped and fought to survive. Dr. Ketra Davenport-King, author of the fictional memoir Seeing Beyond the Shattered Glass, has spent most of her adult life looking beyond the shattered pieces of her life. After being sexually abused as a
child by the one person she once viewed as her hero, her father, she has become an altruistic overcomer through her life pains. Life pains that were inflicted upon her by her father stating at the age of six. (The sexual abuse continued until she was twelve years old.) Dr. Ketra recalls life with her father before the sexual abuse. She shared how he was the type of father that little girls would dream of: “He was a good guy, he was nurturing, he read to me, he played with me.” Unfortunately, the “good guy”/father she knew would reveal a dark, horrid side that would leave his six-year-old daughter broken and spiritless through all of her youth and most of her adult life. Like many child sex abuse victims, Dr. Ketra would live with her secret until she was in her twenties. She explained in our interview how she felt very inadequate in her teen years and felt the need to give gifts just to feel accepted. Her perception of love was tainted by the dysfunctional relationship her father created between them. Dr. Ketra admits to having many toxic relationships including one that led to her losing her virginity at an early age. My virginity was taken in a situation when I didn’t communiqué Magazine
really know my worth. I felt empty as though this was another situation I had to do for someone to like me. I didn’t know that my virginity was my virtue or how to protect it. My dad never allowed me the space to understand my virtue. Toxic relationships leading to fornication, an abortion, and children born out of wedlock, eventually led her into a dysfunctional marriage to a man who she states bore the image of her daddy. Dr. Ketra admits that she knew before marrying her first husband that he was not her husband. My selfishness led me to marry him. He was nice looking, he had good credit, he could buy me a house, and give me a fairytale life and he did. I knew he was not my husband because God showed me that and told me that before I married him, so when we divorced due to his infidelities, I walked away with no regrets. Feeling a massive void in her life, Dr. Ketra realized that she had become emotionally and spiritually disconnected from God. Growing up in a traditional Baptist church, she knew God for herself and knew it was time to seek the Lord’s guidance. Never being angry or questioning God, she admits that she had to find peace and solace with God, which is how she was able to totally forgive her father “Without the But” and have a relationship with him today. My heart never hardened toward my dad that is why I was able to totally forgive him. Her spiritual journey would take place after hearing a piercing message from gospel singer Juanita Bynum, No More Sheets. She said it pierced her soul and she immediately became convicted. I was able to walk in total healing and
recovery. I was able to understand my body was a virtue. I was able to walk boldly into the room. I was able to be okay with being confident in myself. I was able to see the light. I am who I am through Christ Jesus. Dr. Ketra would reclaim her spiritual wellness over a period of ten years. During this time, she returned to school to obtain her degree. Her educational journey became a healing mechanism, a positive focus in her life. Never did she ever see herself obtaining a doctorate’s degree, but she now knows it was God’s plan for her. What God allowed me to complete was because of his grace based on where he wanted to take me. It was never about me. Jeremiah 29:11 has become my favorite scripture: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you plans to give you hope and future. A single parent with two children, struggling and not knowing how she would make it from month to month. But she remained faithful that God would provide for her and her two children. I came home to no lights one day; I didn’t have enough money to get my lights turned back on, but I had enough money to go to a hotel room. My journey has always been a faith walk, for that I give God all the Glory.
faith in Jesus, Dr. Ketra has overcome the statistical life of a child sex abuse victim. Instead of a victim, she has become victorious through her endless advocacy efforts for survivors of child sexual abuse, molestation, and rape. She has served on countless boards as well as procured a seat on the commission of Dallas County Sexual Assault Coalition. In 2004, she founded Life After Advocacy Group (L.A.A.G), what Dr. Ketra calls her heartbeat. Life After Advocacy Group is a 501c3 formed to advocate and educate survivors of child sex abuse, molestation, and rape. The reason why I have transitioned through life is because of this moment… Because of L.A.A.G, my heartbeat. Dr. Ketra Davenport-King leaves survivors with this message: It was not your fault. You are not a victim of someone else’s dysfunction. You have the ability to rise up above anything that has happened to you in your life and soar like an eagle. Transformational words and the perfect advice from one survivor to another. Follow Dr. Ketra at DRKETRA.com lifeafterag.org and on the following social media handles: Facebook: @Author Dr. Ketra Instagram: author_dr.ketra Twitter: @DrKetra Linkedin: Dr. Ketra L. Davenport-King
Through professional counseling and her strong
THE GIFT OF LOVE
Against Unexplained Odds written by Stephanie Wijkstrom
The nurses words were spoken so bluntly; “this reading is
I allowed myself to sink into the oblivion of grief for the
not compatible with the continuation of the pregnancy.”
rest of that holiday day, surrounded by supportive friends
My HCG has failed to double and in fact had dropped
who provided me the meaningful opportunity to be
below the level it was two days prior. HCG, or human
listened to while I cried. I am a woman who has survived
chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone present at high
and thrived through much and when the new days sun
levels in early pregnancy. The very new pregnancy, which
rose, I committed to finding another path forward to the
had resulted from an in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer
family that I dreamed of having with my husband of three
several weeks earlier, was failing. I trembled and broke
years. I knew there was only one fertility treatment that we
into full body sobs, I could feel my little embryo dying
had not yet tried, donor egg IVF, the most successful of all
inside, and along with it, our dreams of a house full of
fertility treatments. Donor egg treatment is defined as an
children’s laughter. This was our third failed embryo
in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle in which a woman uses
transfer that year. Those three IVF transfers were preceded
another woman's eggs (the donor) rather than her own.
by three failed intrauterine insemination (IUI) attempts,
This treatment is commonly needed by women who are
and another round of IUI that had included injectable
unable to use their own eggs for conception but can still
carry a child in their uterus. Before committing to that decision, I spent time considering what it means to be a
All in all, we had exhausted the gamut of fertility methods.
mother, what does it mean to me, to be a family.
While I was lucky enough to give birth to my first son 21 years prior, this dream of expanding my family with
A family is a group of people who make the decision to
my husband was rapidly slipping through into oblivion.
support each other and take part in each other’s lives. A
Thanksgiving 2019 came with it the awareness that I
mother is the keeper of secrets, the tender of dreams, the
had survived the gauntlet of fertility attempts with no
feeder of milk, she is the thread that knits together the
little toes and fingers to show for it, having only gained
fabric of a family’s connections. With all of this in mind, I
the diagnosis of ‘unexplained infertility.’ Unexplained
made the decision that for me, where the egg comes from
infertility is infertility that is idiopathic in the sense that
is less important than the impact that it would have on my
its cause remains unknown even after an infertility work-
life and its ability to bring to fruition our dream to create
up, usually including semen analysis in the man and
a loving family together.
assessment of ovulation and fallopian tubes in the woman. communiqué Magazine
I spent days, and then weeks, looking at clinics all over the world before setting up meetings with Advanced Fertility Center Cancun. Their specialists in fertility and assisted
national leaders, experienced and respected in the field of reproduction. The meeting went well, and my husband and I decided to move forward with the process. Many people have asked me, how did you choose the egg donor? It was a bit like online dating, flipping through pictures, health statistics, and genetic information. It was important to me to find a donor who shared some characteristics with me, who was educated and who was around my height. As I found the right donor, I wondered about her. I will never meet this person, the one that is giving me such a tremendous gift. While I am not a total stranger to tissue donation, in fact organ donation is a very familiar process because my husband is a transplant surgeon who on any given night may remove organs from donors or place organs into the sick to revive them with health. This ovum donation, to be received in the sacred home of my body, no longer a foreign concept, certainly felt different. Later that month, just a few days after Christmas 2019, I went to Cancun, Mexico to start the process, to have my cycle synced with our donors. I spent days and hours walking along the beach, in deep meditation over the coming of the new year. Breathing to open my body to this place and to the purpose of motherhood. I not only embraced my hopes, but my tremendous fears too, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;what if?....â&#x20AC;&#x2122; makes an anxious bedfellow. My husband, Martin, arrived to Mexico the second week 31
of January, just in time for the eggs to be retrieved from the donor and injected with his sperm five days later. Then we wait to see how many of the retrieved eggs would result in full blastocysts, the fastest growing two embryos were then transferred into me. Almost immediately, this felt different. After the transfer we drove from Cancun to Tulum and found respite in a small beachside hut. I remember the twinges on the first day, small little cramps, I could feel the life taking hold inside of me burrowing deeper into my womb. I welcomed that feeling but I also remembered that sometimes that is as far as life goes. On day three after the transfer, I took a home pregnancy test and saw two very faint lines that I almost had to squint to see but they were there! Our IVF had worked and for there to be such an early read, my intuition told me that both embryos must have implanted! While the months ahead, which confirmed the positive pregnancy and confirmed that there were two embryos growing inside of me, were full of both joy and fear. It really wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t until I could feel them both moving inside of me during the fifth month that I truly believed my wishes had come true. Now when I hold these sweet babies in my arms, I truly cherish each moment for the beautiful gift it is. I am so grateful for the gift of love, blessed by the two baby boys who burrowed deep into me, who I nourish with my love, who have given me the gift of family. This Thanksgiving and this Christmas season will be full of the greatest blessingsâ&#x20AC;Ś blessings of newborn smiles, milky gazes, the vibrant and full home of my dreams.
mayfield brooks Performance Artist | Urban Farmer | Gender Warrior
Standing for Love written by Joey Lorraine
“The role of the artist is exactly the same as the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.” - James Baldwin Republican Democrat. Traditional Progressive.
barriers dismantled. Something in me opened up.
Left Right. White Black. Gay Straight. God Nothing.
I felt touched by both the frailty and fierceness of
You Me. One could argue all these are social
being black, being an artist, and being human.
constructs, most ostensibly the latter. You are the reader, and me, well I am the writer. But maybe it’s
Performance artist, urban farmer, gender warrior,
not quite that simple. This is what mayfield brooks
and refreshingly human, mayfield brooks knew at
led me to realize- the space that lies between us,
twelve years old they would never get married. The
and how delicate that opening is. When I first spoke
first in their family to attend college (at 17) raised
with mayfield I thought to myself, 'wow how soft-
in a deeply religious family with strong Pentecostal
spoken and feminine they sound'. I was admittedly
roots, academia opened up a new path that would
taken aback. They have the spirit of an activist, yet
eventually lead them to discover and share their
the voice of a sparrow.
own spiritual truth. As a young child, they would spend hours daydreaming and would sneak in
Suddenly random thoughts came swirling in
secular music whenever they could.
from the back of my mind, competing to become judgements. I would have to shut them down.
“I didn’t know there was such a thing as being an
Somehow I would have to raise my consciousness
artist”. It wasn’t long before their world would
to take in their story. At the very least, I would have
open, like a rose that had once been tightly bound
to listen, not passively, but actively. This took work.
up, destined to fully blossom.
I felt myself resisting, but gradually, my interior 35
Despite the blossoming, however, there were
As an artist who fiercely advocates for telling
thorns. Some would say it was bad luck. Others
stories that cannot be told, mayfield is not afraid to
would accrue it to being black while driving. It
remind us that America was born on the sweat of
was 2003. They had moved to San Francisco after
black bodies. In that reminder lies a rite of passage,
working on a farm at the University of California
mayfield's project "Letters to Marsha" leads the way.
Santa Cruz, and right after completing their studies
A black Andy Warhol model/drag queen who was
in Ecological Horticulture something inexplicable
a Stonewall Uprising instigator, and co-founder of
the Street Transvestite Revolutionaries (S.T.A.R.) with Sylvia Rivera, Marsha "Pay it no mind" Johnson
It was late at night. The speed limit was close to
overflowed with sass, courage, and revolution
15 miles per hour. They were going about 10 miles faster. A police officer on a motorcycle signaled for
When found in the Hudson river, her death was
mayfield to pull over. One police officer turned into
claimed a suicide, although the details surrounding
five and not long after mayfield was in jail. It was
her death have yet to be thoroughly investigated.
the time of the month where the traffic ticket quota
Marsha's spirit is like an angel that sits on mayfield’s
had to be hit, and mayfield was the perfect target.
shoulder, whispering in their ear ‘pay it no mind’
The police officer did an arbitrary background
as they press forward, bringing awareness to
check and found a record of a five year old traffic
ancestral healing in the face of anti-black violence,
a sustainable earth, non-binary expression and gender warriorship - allowing space where you and
Although the record of the policeman's actions
me can not only accept our equality, but celebrate
was conveniently erased, the scars of the false and
our unique differences.
wrongful arrest remain. This experience inspired the creation of their interdisciplinary dance project,
Writer Joey Lorraine, Dance Artist & Content
IWB ‘Improvising While Black’. “In so many ways
black people have learned how to hustle within the confines of a white dominated society.” But what
Listen to mayfield’s story in her own words via
if the hustle was redefined? What if the automatic
response, ie. 'reflexive action' became the opening toward freedom as opposed to restriction? IWB
Learn more about mayfield at
embraces reflexive action, aka 'hustling' that is
conscious, alive, and creative as a way of tipping the balance from the same reflexive action that continues to force and restrict black bodies, ultimately leaving them breathless.
Photographer: Jerry A Barnes Model: Amanda Warrior Styled by: JABarnes Photography LLC HMUA: Amanda Warrior
of Love written by Dr. Eric Holmes
Love is a powerful mechanism and is said to be able to cover a multitude of faults. Webster Dictionary defines love as a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person. God is love. He showed his love for us when He took on the sins of the world and died for us so that we can be reconciled with the Father. The word love encompasses love for one another, not only that God is love. We, as people of God, must learn the art of true love and its true meaning. How often do we say “I love you” or share our love for others? We were raised on the principles and foundation of love. In the family unit, people understand how powerful love is and it is exemplified through action. In these times we are living in, it is so important to get back to the foundation. There is a popular song that asks the question, “what’s love got to do with it?” Well, love has everything to do with it. So many have forgotten the meaning of the word and the term is used lightly, not holding value of what it really means. When was the last time you really experienced true love? Whether it be love of a friend, family, or just relationships in general. It’s difficult to believe, but there are some people who may never hear or experience the word love. I look at how children in foster care, shelters, even group homes seemingly just want to be loved and to hear the words I love you. The word of God says faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of them is love. The issue remains that we are not sharing or exhibiting love. Love is a powerful and profound word. Even in a powerful country such as ours, it seems that love has been taken out of the equation. As we have shifted in our country and our nation, the love has been misinterpreted and misunderstood. So can we go back to the foundation, the basis of our roots and family structure to spread and show love? In our culture, we were raised with values, morals, principals and love. We helped one another, we were there for one another, and supported each other. But in these times, we have lost our value system. Let’s get back to it! During this season in time, we have seen many things transpire. I believe in my heart that our country is headed back in the right direction, because everyone pulled together during these turbulent times. We must now take the stand to share and spread love that was once exhibited, continue to let our light shine, and be that example for the world. Love is what love does! It’s all about true love. Dr. Eric L. Holmes Bestselling Author The Power Of The Seed communiqué Magazine
WHAT ABOUT THAT
GRAMMY? written by
Author & Singer Rene' Gordon Poet|Songwriter|Spoken Word Artist & Future Grammy Award Winner
A job layoff is what motivated me to start taking my writing career more seriously. I have been writing and singing since I was a kid. I wrote short stories, song lyrics, poetry, and I even wrote a short play. Writing and singing have always been my two loves. I sang in a talent show; in the church choir and praise team; at small benefit concerts, and just for fun with family and friends. My dream was to write song lyrics and poetry and to sing at the Grammy Awards as I accepted my Grammy for New Artist of the Year or Song of the Year. Heck, any category would be awesome! In high school, I drew a picture of me on stage in front of an audience at the Grammy Awards. To kick start my dreams, I self-published my first book in 2004, Life, Love, & Loss: Words from the Heart (a book of poetry). While for some this would be a new beginning, I never advertised the book or did anything with it. Then, in 2014 just before the Thanksgiving holiday, I was laid off from my IT job. Although I received a decent severance package, I needed another job. The area where we lived at the time had a lot of jobs for military and medical professionals. Even though I had been in the United States Marine Corps for a short time, nothing seemed to help me in my job search. When I wasn’t searching for a job, I filled my time with painting the house and putting up a tile backsplash in the kitchen. I kept myself busy, but when all the projects in the house were done, I wasn’t sure what to do next. Then, destiny hit. I saw a commercial on television about a book. It was like a light bulb turned on in my brain. My love for writing was rekindled. I immediately sat down and started writing a children’s book, Animals in Our 41
World: A – Z. I used my love for poetry, animals, and travel as themes for the book. I finished writing it in only two weeks. Writing the stories was the easy part. But publishing? Now that was the challenge. I initially had a publisher who introduced me to a phenomenal illustrator and my book began to take to life. I eventually released a new edition and self-published it under my company, ReneWritesBooks. (Yes, I started a company too.) I had owned a company before so this wasn’t anything new to me. However, this time I was giving a piece of myself to the world through my writing. I found a job as a home health aide to supplement my income. I was writing and praying for a breakthrough. I finally received one. I ended up getting a contract IT job before getting a permanent job in IT shortly before we relocated. After publishing the children’s book, I realized that I needed to revamp my book of poetry, so I found a graphic artist to redo the cover and I published it under my company. God kept working in my life and my husband and I wrote a book together, The Next 31 Days: Realign Your Thinking, Realign Your Life. When I was laid off previously, I wrote another book, Who? What? When? Where? How? Why? A Story about a Life. I held onto this one for a few years. It was personal, and I wasn’t ready to share that much of myself just yet. I even published a book written by my 90 and 91-year-old aunt and uncle, Our Love Story: How we met – How we live by Dorothy and Isaac Jackson, Jr.
In between books, I tried to keep my presence known. I performed spoken word a few times around Central Florida and I was a guest on a radio show, The TJ Chatman Show. I spoke about my books and my love for writing. I felt so blessed to have had those opportunities. I knew it was part of the process and building blocks of my dreams. I just need to have patience and faith and keep pressing forward That being said, the next step came right along. My husband, being the music lover that he is, learned music production and we started working on music together. Finally, my love of music and singing was nurtured. Our collaboration birthed Hear My Music, a five-song mini Jazz album composed, arranged, and produced by my husband, Emil D. Gordon, Sr. and released under his company, Metrical Music Productions. Yes, he started a company too! Hear My Music has four instrumentals and one song on which I sing. We are now working on an album where communiqué Magazine
I will be singing almost all of the songs, some I composed and arranged. We are growing and developing our skills and building the foundation to take our dreams to the next level. We planned to do a few listening parties, but coronavirus led us to use social media as much as we could to publicize the album. Talk about a challenge since I’m not social media savvy but I had to pivot and do the best I could. I shared all of this to encourage you that when you think your dreams are going nowhere, and sometimes when you’re in your darkest place, God will make a way and your dreams will start shaping up and filling out. Maybe I was laid off so I could stop procrastinating and write my books that would sell internationally. Maybe the creativity from writing books and poetry helped to spark the songwriter in me that wrote the songs that have sold and streamed in the US, Columbia, and Mexico. The hard times I fell on including losing my job, were the best things that ever happened to me. My spirituality is obvious from my words, but let me say it in case it wasn’t clear. All the fruit produced was a manifestation of God working in our lives. Emil and I were blessed by our God-given gifts and family, friends, and fans who support us. This has been a true journey and learning experience and not without incidence. There were struggles, disagreements, even times we weren’t sure we could work together. We faced so many challenges, from my father’s death from multiple types of cancer to a cousin who passed from coronavirus complications. We have made a lot of sacrifices including sleepless nights and studio time versus quality time together. However, I can proudly report that we are stronger and more creative now than when we started. And, although we are both fulfilling our passions and childhood dreams, we cannot imagine doing this separately. Emil is a genius in his creations and it incites creativity in me. We literally make beautiful music together. Sometimes you have no idea what plans God has for you or how He will bring them to pass. You have to just keep the faith, an open mind, and stay on the grind. My dreams are coming true little by little. Now, God, what about that Grammy (as I look up to Heaven and wink)?
written by Apostle J.L. Cash
Since we were children we have heard intriguing stories about love and the joy it brings. The Prince and the Princess, Cinderella, and many, many others. Yet even though love seems to be all around us we sometimes feel we’ve been discarded and cast far away from love and its joys to live a life of unhappiness. As a Minister I have counseled many people male, female, young, old and of pretty much every race who just grew tired of hoping and waiting for love to find them. They would tell me that although they enjoy loving others, they no longer look for it or expect it to come to them. Then you have some who just simply fear “falling in love” because they don’t believe the person will love them back, or they just don’t want to lose emotional control. They have perhaps spent years getting a handle on themselves and that feeling of being in control makes them feel safe from being hurt by love. Love has indeed left its mark around the world concerning the pain that sometimes travels with it. While it’s easy to get it wrong when it comes to love, the fact remains that you only have to get it right ONE TIME. Love is so powerful and packed with so much joy and healing until I encourage you, whoever you are, and no matter what you’ve been through, please never give up on LOVE.
Love is notorious for finding you when you least expect it. In a grocery store, at a red light, or even in an elevator and it’s often as close to you as right under your nose. When love enters your life so does change. The presence of true love summons the better of you to replace the broken you, then it begins to heal and strengthen you until your best you is manifested to replace the image of yourself that you had settled for. When love happens it goes beyond you, your pain, and all your memories, and the healing begins. Love has a way of causing bad memories to lose their power over you. When love happens, and you allow it to rule, it chases away your fears. The bible tells us that there is no fear in LOVE (1 John 4:18). When you allow fear to reside in the place of love, knowing love becomes something that seems impossible to you. But when you allow LOVE to happen it introduces you to life without fear and its torment. We hear people talk about falling in love, they say things like I fell in love or I think I’m falling in love. This is because love is not something you can make happen or stop from happening. When love happens, there is no steering wheel or controls to do it your way. In First John chapter 4 it tells us that God is love,
so then Love is God. One of the reasons love is so powerful is because it is simply God working in us and through us towards others. Because of God being the very love we feel, this feeling is often described as heaven. There are books, Poems, Cards and many other writings of people trying to describe and even explain love and its Mighty power. However, as much as love is talked about and acted out on TV and in movies, and even sung about on the radio, there are many who feel love has passed them by. Well, I have news for you. As long as you are breathing love is looking for you. The bible speaks of a plant called Lily of The Valley and this plant is rooted in the Christian religion where it symbolizes purity and humility. Queen Victoria, Princess Astrid of Sweden, Grace Kelly, and Kate Middleton all used the white bell-shaped buds in their wedding bouquets. Lily of the Valley, the flower for May, symbolizes “Return to Happiness.” As children, many of us found love in many places from family to our cherished pets and favorite toys. But as we grew older and encountered disappointment after disappointment and hurt after hurt we grew afraid to open up and love or be loved. It seemed easier to live without love than to have it and possibly be hurt by it. But in the effort to be careful of love, fear took
away your joy, your peace, and every little thing that made life worth it all. Instead of enjoying life, you found yourself left with only the memories of the few times you had let go and had a truly happy heart full of love. Now I know this is not church, and I’m not preaching, but we use to sing an old song that said, “There’s a Lily in the Valley Bright as The Morning Star, Amen.” My point is, There really is a lily in your heart’s valley calling you to “Return To Happiness.” Though we may get love wrong many times, you only have to get it right one time. As a Minister I have seen a lot of unhappy people when it comes to love. Many of them shouted they would never, ever love again after what they had been through. But then one day “LOVE HAPPENED” and they were singing “I’ll Try To Love Again” like Sheryl Crow in the 70’s on her hit song The First Cut Is The Deepest. God created us to love and to be loved. You may have knocked on a few wrong doors and rang a few bad doorbells, but you’re not done. There is a Lily in the valley of your heart calling you to return to happiness. God has that one true love waiting for you. True love focuses outside of and beyond self. So, life as you know it changes when you fall in love. You lose your old self in the introduction to a new self. There is no steering wheel, no control. Your emotions reach out for the one you love to love you back and when they do you are never the same again. Prayer, faith and trust in God is the GPS of a happy heart. God is a true expert at Fusion. This is the bringing together of two parts and making the weakest part the strongest part. God does not deal in Con-Fusion or the breaking
apart. God joins us to who is best for us and will bring the best out of us. When you meet someone, who does not bring forth the better of you, feel free to let them keep going. The right person will always cultivate you, your heart and your soul. The right person is always the words to your heart’s music, the healing your soul longed for and the peace your mind searched for. True love shines in the dark and dismal places of your life and light it up like the 21st Night of September in the Earth, Wind and Fire Song SEPTEMBER. The Song was a hit when released November 18, 1978 with a very romantic undertone in which the singer talks about a very special time for them, like a wedding. Being in love and finding everything around them perfectly paired with their emotions. Two hearts tightly knitted together in love and affection. The singer declared “Our hearts were ringing in the key that our souls were singing.” This song indeed rang true around the world for a lot of people who had experienced love on this very high note of Joy. However, most times when we hear songs about love like this, many quickly grip thoughts like, it could never happen for me. But I will say it again, “as long as you are breathing my friend, love is looking for you.” It doesn't always come wrapped the way you imagined, it doesn’t always sound the way you thought it would sound, but it always fulfills the expectations of your waiting heart and you only have to get it right one time. Apostle J. L. Cash
Model: Guthrie BonnĂŠtt Photographer: Gaby Abboud (Chicago, Il) communiquĂŠ Magazine
Brian McKnight written by C. NaTasha Richburg
I waited patiently on the telephone,
as a seasoned singer-song writer
walks down the aisle to take his
poised to begin the communiqué
who is celebrating a 30-year career
hand in marriage. The couple
Magazine interview, and listened
in music with a catalog of twenty
met in 2012 and announced
as Brian McKnight made his
albums that includes his last album
their engagement in May 2017.
drive thru order of one cold and
released in June 2020, “Exodus”
According to the January 2, 2018,
one warm latte accompanied by a
while giving insight into the next
edition of Celebrity Style, on New
warm chocolate chip cookie. The
phase of his life.
Year’s Eve 2017, the couple “…tied
scene offered a glimpse into the
the knot at Oheka Castle Hotel &
morning normalcy of the R&B
Brian McKnight’s music invokes
Estate in Huntington, New York.”
sensation. The cashier spoke on the
thoughts of where we were when
Brian is a man wholly in love
drive thru intercom with the dollar
we heard one of his songs for the
with his wife. The bright light of
amount for the items purchased
first time. Albums such as “Back
happiness shines through Brian’s
and said, “What is the name for
at One, “Anytime,” “Genius,” and
melodies, filling the room with
this order?,” he responded “Brian.”
finally his latest album “Exodus”
love’s joyous powers that radiate
He then returned to the phone
act as bookmarks in our life’s story.
hope. This is the kind of hope you
call, offering an apology for the
The current single from “Exodus”
dream of when waiting for hard
delay and expressing his readiness
is “Nobody.” The video for the
work to payoff, such as the hope
song “Nobody” communicates
for getting your dream job after
conversation ensued in reverence
romantic sentiments as the love
receipt of a college degree, or a
of Brian’s known accomplishments
of Brian’s life, Leilani, graciously
musician’s hope to write a song
that resonates for an eternity. This expression
After I met my wife, life comes out of the
of love for Leilani in song exemplifies a first
other side of my heart. Now it is okay for me
for Brian. “All of my big hits never had a
to watch girly movies and tear up. Watching
subject. I very rarely used the word ‘I.’ I wrote
The Wizard of Oz has now given me a true
in third person or without a person. I didn’t
understanding of how the Tin Man feels
know what love was. I didn’t know this kind
empty, since he doesn’t have a heart.”
of love.” Love has settled down in Brian’s song “42 (Grown Up Tipsy)” that makes reference
Brian’s songs express a mood through his
to responsibly indulging in Don Julio 1942
instrumental mastery that doesn’t require
Tequila while staying home, cuddling with
gimmicks to keep his listeners’ attention.
a loved one. Leilani is Brian’s dream come
Through the purity of his voice, he captivates
true. The sincerity of Brian’s adoration is
his listening audience, enveloping them into
articulated throughout his twentieth album,
the romanticism of his prose. Brian has no
Exodus. He states, “Before falling in love with
desire to record a twenty-first album. Now
my wife, there was a mathematical approach
it is time for him to “simply enjoy [his] own
to my music. There are just so many notes and
music.” However, when asked about the state
syllables to use in each song. I watched movies
of his music career in totality, Brian says,
and read books to get the content needed for
“It’s over when it’s over, and it’s not over by a
a song. No longer do I have to use my brain
long shot.” Thus, the last album, Exodus is in
to write a song. I can simply watch my wife
no way the last we’ll see of Brian McKnight.
blow-dry her hair, and a song comes straight
The singer-songwriter is planning to tour
out of my heart.” Sincere sentiments of love
post COVID-19 and include all of the safe
draw celebratory smiles from onlookers to
practices that make touring viable again.
bring a brightness of hope into the air that surrounds the couple. What have you learned
New album, Exodus:
about love? “If we don’t settle, love is available
for all of us.” How have people close to you dealt with the new love in your life? “Once my friends and family met my wife, Leilani, they knew immediately that she is special.
A Comedian to Always Remember A comedian to always remember and one to admire and emulate is Jus Janell, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native that has an uncompromising love for New York City! We already know her energy is high, and her laugh is contagious because New York is a place for dream activators to live their dreams out loud no matter where they are in the world! So many great success stories derive from there! Jus Janell says New York is her happy place! She has been going to New York every year for her “Girl’s birthday trip” for the past 25 years! She has performed in New York at the Broadway Comedy Club and The Laughing Buddha. Jus Janell says, “The atmosphere is built for success! I feel it every year! I get my energy & Spirit from New York”! This Pittsburgh comedian performed her first professional act at the Punchline Comedy lounge in Detroit, Michigan. She reflects, “I remember being terrified because I was in a different city and the comedians who performed that night were hilarious, and I remember being intimidated while I sat there and listened. When I got to the stage I tripped, I started laughing and I said I’m already falling for y’all!! The audience started laughing too, I finished with a great set that night and they asked me to come back the next day!! I brought a bus load from Pittsburgh!! We were already on vacation in the “D”!!!...Some of the people came back the second night to see me again”! Jus Janell entered into the industry with a bang and loves her place on the stage, however the industry challenges were present. She tells us that it is not easy for a black woman to break into comedy. She says, “The industry is ran by older white men. I have experienced the hardship of not getting booked because I’m a black woman. I have experienced the greatness of being a black woman on stage as well!! The comedy field is full of comedians who are 57
not gonna give you a leg up. So, I opened my own comedy club, to give others a chance who may not otherwise get a chance to perform on stage! I think about when I was there! So, I opened the Giggles & Grub Comedy Club on April 20,2017 and the rest is history! “. The club is located at 7526 Washington Avenue, Swissvale, Pennsylvania. Post Covid comedy gatherings will surely change. In an industry where facial expressions are used to motivate the audience and the comedians, the masks will be a barrier to see the smiles, laughs, frowns, and jaw dropping expressions. “We have to change everything”, says Jus Janell. “We will need to sanitize mics & wear masks. The audience will have to wear a mask also, it’s not gonna be easy to adjust to. The mask makes it very hard to express yourself through facial expressions. But we will make it funny!” Safety is most important because sickness is ‘no laughing matter’. I asked Jus Janell to talk to me about her influences from other comedians and to share with us the things that make her laugh. “My first comedy influence was Lucille Ball, she was so pretty with her curly red hair! She showed a lot of facial expressions, she was very high energy! I believe I emulate her style. Kids, leggings, & old ladies make me laugh! Children are quite honest and sometimes raw honesty is hilarious. Do I need to say why leggings make me laugh? I shouldn’t wear them, that’s funny to me!! Old ladies keep it a buck! They hold back No-Thing and I love it”! Jus Janell is proud to be a PG-13 rated Comedian. She says that she doesn’t feel like she has to swear to be funny. “Swear words may be offensive to some people, I don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable during my set. I want everyone tuned in to every word! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy all styles of comedy, especially if it is funny.” Jus Janell says that the most important part of her comedy is that the audience can relate and be teachable. She adds, “I’m always trying to educate them while I make them laugh”. Life is fun, but so much better with a dedicated partner that is supportive, ever present, and adds value to life. Jus Janell and her husband Darren have nearly four decades together as a beautiful married couple. “We are literally black history”,
says Jus Janell! They are the parents of two sons, Josh and Jay. They also have two beautiful granddaughters, Tamiah and JaVion. “My granddaughters make life worth living Tamiah is 11 and JaVion is 5. They are my worlds!! In fact, they are my biggest fans! Tamiah helps me write jokes and JaVion helps me tell them!! I have the biggest smile right now just thinking about them”. Taking it back to childhood, Jus Janell reflects on her hard years that have resulted in a triumphant and successful journey. “The very best part of being me is that I had a rough childhood. I chose to self-medicate for years! I am 25 years clean now and I can talk about what I have been through, in an effort to help another woman. I am better, stronger, & wiser! I’m a 2 times breast cancer Thriver with 10 years in deliverance and I’m grateful to God. I’m very proud that I can get on stage and laugh in the face of adversity”. “My mother is from Duquesne, Pennsylvania and my dad came from down south Alabama! My father was sooo funny! He made me laugh all the time, I know that’s where I get my talent! He passed away when I was 14. I lost my biggest & best friend I was definitely a daddy’s girl. I was special to him because I was the 28th and last child! Yes, my dad had 28 children!! He took great care of all of us until the day he earned his wings!! I miss him more everyday!! I wish he could see me on stage, he would be so proud! My mother Lois is 76 years young, she loves my comedy!! Although she can’t get to every show, she still gets out once in a while to see me perform. She says I’m hilarious HA!! My mom is tough, she doesn’t think anyone is funny! That’s what makes this so ironic”. Currently Jus Janell is working on a project with her business partner Al J. They are creating a Video Log for the Giggles and Grub Club, sort of a live show, bi-weekly on YouTube. Good comedy lasts forever. Be sure to connect with Comedian Jus Janell and follow her so you know when and where you can catch her on stage! Follow Jus Janell on Instagram @janelljus & Jus Janell on Facebook.
Music of the
MIND AND HEART Rashida Moore is an artist with a desirably soothing sound!
mood instantaneously. Music has power. From one measure
The lyrics stay on your mind and the melody vibrates in
to the next it can make you cry, laugh, reflect, release
your heart. Her music is as beautiful as she is, and we are so
tension, make you feel tense, excited, bring people together,
excited to share her story with you!
tear them apart...that’s power.” Music is used in therapy and rehabilitation programs around the globe. It is a universal
Rashida Moore’s earliest memory of singing for an audience
passion that heals.
was when she was 9 years old. “I would perform, dancing and singing, imitating Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean for
We asked Rashida about her next project and here is what
family and friends at summer cook outs. I had so much
she told us, “My latest project is a video from my most
enthusiasm. I was eager and unafraid, and the elders
recent song release, “Colorblind”. Colorblind is a song about
would pay me to perform. They were very supportive and
people being shades of brown, not black and white. It tells
encouraging to my artist self. I used to walk away with
about human beings being creations of God and God as an
some good money too, to buy goodies at the corner store
artist that has no limitations and uses all color in everything.
(laugh). Also, I would perform hits like Stephanie Mills’s
I think it’s absurd to classify people according to skin color
“Home” and Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” at
the way we do. And to limit it to black and white is really
my Elementary School in DC (Wheatley) in the assemblies”.
baffling. We are humans. All of the human race and when we can see everyone else as we see ourselves there isn’t much
Rashida released her first project titled, ‘Ask Me Again’, this
room for hate. I wrote Colorblind so that people could start
past March 2020. She decided that she wanted to start giving
to see the beauty in one another”.
her energy to her authentic self and share her gifts. “I’ve had so much fear in my life, feeling like my true self wouldn’t
Rashida not only sings, bur she plays the piano, guitar and
work for me. I was discouraged a lot and with time I realized
ukulele too! Her favorite insurrument is the guitar! She
that it was nothing more than fear. I was no longer willing
says, “I play mostly chord progressions to get the bones of
to let fear hold me back anymore. I now feel that every one
my songs in place and get the point that I’m trying to make
of us that are born into the world has a contribution in our
across. After that, for profession recordings I usually let a
lifetime and we have an obligation to share our gifts. We
band or producer take it from there. I play well enough to
have so much to offer each other. Someone out there is
relay to them musically what I want to say”.
counting on us and needs our contributions”. With so much talent, we were curious to know about “Music is the truest expression of feelings. Music doesn’t
Rashida’s roots. “I do come from a background of music.
hold back. It is the most effective way of relaying messages.
Music was a part of every single day in my family. My mother
It’s complete, complex and has the unique ability to alter
sings and her mother, my grandmother, had a beautiful
had the most beautiful voice he had ever heard and that day. My father is a musician. He plays the trumpet. He has played for the church as long as I can remember. My favorite songs to hear him play are Shadow of Your Smile and Feels
so Good by Chuck Mangione”.
Rashida proudly announces that her favorite artist is Stevie Wonder. “He has so much to give. His lyrics are out of this
world and he grooves. When you really listen to every word that his lyrics are saying it gives you so many visuals and I
think that’s incredible for someone who is blind. Also, you can feel his love for music in his performance. I saw him in concert a few years back and even when the show was
supposed to be over he kept going, performing many more
songs. He didn’t want to stop. He gave the feeling that he wanted to be there with us all night. He’s extraordinary”.
Let’s talk about goals! “The next big thing for me in the music industry is to win a Grammy. But more importantly
I want to be consistent while remaining authentic with my content. Balance. It’s so important to me that I don’t water my art down just trying to come up with anything to put out.
But I’d like to win a Grammy. Being recognized is special. I know it sounds a bit superficial, but I think it’s nice when people appreciate your work and contributions”.
Rashida shows up and shows out! She is the voice that rings in your head long after the song has ended. We love everything about the music and artistry of this amazing performer! Readers can contact Rashida on Instagram @borntowritesongs, on Facebook at Rashida Z @borntowritesongs and her website is: www.borntowritesongs.com
Music From the
she used to sing Ella Fitzgerald songs in Clubs back in their
MIND AND HEART
sultry voice. My grandfather told me that my grandmother
Photographer- Guthrie Bonnétt (#ATOC) Photos By A Taste Of Chicago communiqué Magazine 62
less Tim e
Dawn Angela Mickens
2020 was a tough year. Many families lost their way but on
Agency, hosted the event. Dawn was in attendance and our
the flip side, many people found their way. New relationships
friendship started from that day. Distance and miles grew
were formed and with the uncertainty that lay ahead for
between Dawn and me. She moved to Las Vegas, Nevada
many of us, people were eager to make their life choices firm.
and I continued to travel the world with my work, making
New relationships were formed and with the uncertainty
the upper eastern quadrant of the United States my home. I
that many of us saw coming, a lot of people decided to
never forgot the impressionable smile and gentle spirit that
press towards solidifying their relationships by marriage.
etched a memory of Dawn in my mind. I knew, on the day
Let me introduce you to one Nevada businesswoman
we met, that she was destined to be great and fabulous in all
that is responsible for a multitude of beautiful marriage
of her business endeavors, and six years later, I was correct.
ceremonies! Meet Dawn Angela Mickens.
Dawn is a published Author, and Model, a Nevada licensed Wedding Officiant, a Wife to her wonderful husband Darryl
I met Dawn Angela Mickens April 19, 2014 in Atlanta,
Mickens, and a Mom…not necessarily in that order either!
Georgia at a networking event. Mahmoudah Young,
All of her titles do not add up to the one word that describes
Professional Storyteller, Interior Designer, and Celebrity
her most: timeless. Dawn is beautiful, healthy, fit, happy,
Mom to Malik Yoba, was the guest Speaker, and I was the
and emotionally balanced while living her best life. She says,
Booking manager that created the event at the Style &
“My today story is a continuation of my yesterday.”
Brand Agency of Atlanta. Shekina Moore, founder of the
Dawn’s wedding business is named Timeless Connection. Dawn and her husband Darryl are independent, licensed officials registered with the State of Nevada. Their company offers all-inclusive wedding packages with competitive pricing, and they service the entire metropolitan Las Vegas and surrounding areas. Earlier this year Timeless Connection was again named winner of the 2020 WeddingWire Couples; Choice Awards, an accolade representing the top wedding professionals across the board in quality, service, responsiveness, and professionalism reviewed by couples on WeddingWire. They were also awarded in the years 2017, 2018, and 2019. Dawn released a 2nd Edition of her book, ‘Timeless Rebel: Empowered to Pursue the Dreams Within’, a summary of the book asks, ‘Have you ever asked the questions, “who am I?” or “where am I?” or “what am I?” The book takes you on a journey of self-discovery. It is available on Amazon. Dawn has the personality that everyone loves! She stepped out on faith and became a runway model in her 40’s while showing confidence in everything she does. She is a trailblazer in her community, she is an empowering figure for her peers, and she is a role model for younger generations to emulate. Dawn speaks with positivity and she shares her heartfelt sentiments on what success can look like at any age, from any place in life, and with nothing more than a desire to be the best you can be. Visit www.timelessconnection.com to engage further with Dawn and her husband Darryl. We know that people come in your life for a reason, or a season, but Dawn is a lifetime friend, and we know you will find the same once you get to know her! She is a consummate professional and her ability to encourage you is pleasant and well received by all.
Photographer: Jerry A Barnes Models: Shadae Candice. Marcus Jenkins Wardrobe/Stylist: JABarnes Photography LLC communiquĂŠ Magazine
Justin Boddie Justin is a third year Mass Media Arts student at Clark Atlanta University where he is studying radio, television, and film. He has a strong passion for film and television, and the role African Americans play in the success of the mainstream media. Justin aspires to write, direct, and produce content that will portray African Americans in a positive light instead of the negative methods and stereotypes Hollywood tries to portray African Americans in. Justin serves as a member of a number of organizations at Clark. He is a member of the Campus Activities Board, Full Circle Community Service Organization, CAU-TV, and is a member of the National Association Of Black Journalists. Justin also serves as the Community Service Chair for the AUC Baltimore Club. Justin lives by his school’s motto “I’ll find a way or make one.” Things do not always go in the direction you want them to. Sometimes you have to create your own way to reach your goal. Instagram: rreadjusting Email: email@example.com
PATHS TO SUCCESS written by Portia O. Perry He is an accomplished musician with 8 albums under his
flute, he played sax. It turns out when Jackiem was younger
belt, 2 number one singles, “I’m Waiting for You” and “Take
Najee actually came to his city, Syracuse, for a concert “I
Me There”, of which both held # 1 spots on billboard’s charts
have been a fan ever since”.
for weeks. A dynamic literary of 4 books, he was honored by the Silver Literary Titan Book Award in 2020 for “Zarya,”
When asked if he played horns by sight or whether he
written in 2016. Jackiem Joyner is his name and he is an
improvised, he said, “There is a spirit in playing and yes
acclaimed multifaceted talent with several paths to success.
I do improvise. There is a place where the music comes
Growing up in school Mr. Joyner’s first ambition was to
from within your heart and soul.” He mentioned in a
learn to read music in order to play drums. However, he
previous interview that he wanted to add sexy and romantic
learned the school had enough drummers and his music
sounds to his music through his horn and when asked for
teacher, the late “Lou Adams” requested that he pick another
what special person, he smiled and decided to keep that
instrument. Jackiem then spotted the tenor saxophone and
to himself. However, a few of his personal favorites are
it looked intimidating. He liked the expensive appearance
“Secrets,” "Fairytales,” and “Touch.” Jackiem has received
of it with its shiny brass exterior with all the fancy buttons.
several honors and awards over the years including the
He thought it would present a challenge and decided to give
Smooth Jazz News Debut Artist of the Year in 2008 and was
it a try. His teacher gave him the saxophone and a cassette
nominated for song of the year by the American Smooth
tape with great musicians like Charlie Parker, John Coltrane
Jazz Awards in 2009.
and others and he remembered walking home from school with these two items in his hands.
In addition, Mr. Joyner also owns Joyner Media Company (JMC) and he is featured with guitarist Peter White on
It was not long before Jackiem fell in love with the horn and
the recording “Last Dance.”
little did he know how the horn would be such a significant
with Gerald Albright, Rick Braun, Paul Jackson, Jr. Kirk
benefit in his life.
He became proficient on the wind
Whalum, and Jonathan Butler.” Jackiem also stated, “I’ve
instrument so much so that his teacher took him along on
performed and/or toured with Jean Carn, Angela Bofill, Phil
gigs. In the 11th grade Jackiem was able to earn $100 on a
Perry, Ronnie Laws, Tom Brown, George Duke, Bobby Lyle,
gig and sometimes he was earning up to $400 per gig. In
Keiko Matsui, and Marcus Johnson.” He is still progressing
about a year he mastered the tenor sax and moved on to the
with his music releasing album #8, “Journey of Passion”
alto and soprano Saxes and has been playing ever since.
recently, in November 2020. Jackiem will be sharing more
Further, he has recorded
of his music, literature, podcast and all forms of media on As a musician Jackiem has toured the world to at least 120
his label JMC.
countries. He has written music like “Fairytales” and laid track with musical jazz legend Najee. When he wrote that
The pandemic has slowed his musical engagements which
song he knew Najee had to be part of it. While Najee played
allowed him to return to another passion; writing. He is communiqué Magazine
a literary of several genres ranging from science fiction, drama, and mysteries. In his sci-fi book about “Zarya” he brings to life a teenage female trying to save her planet from a villain who is attempting to destroy it. Also in November 2020, Jackiem release another book entitled “Minor Assassin” about a young boy who is in search of those responsible for separating his family. “It took 2 ½ years to complete this book.” “I don’t think I would have completed it this soon if I were still touring.” Jackiem has several other books on Amazon for those interested in his work. On top of music and writing Jackiem is also a philanthropist and as he tours the world he makes time to visit high schools to talk to students about pursuing a career in the music world. He not only plays for students but allows some to play along with him. It is his way of giving back. He enjoys telling them what it is like making a living as a musician. Jackiem was blown away when his home town of Syracuse, New York awarded him with a key to the city for his musical success in 2010. When talking about what is in his future, Jackiem is looking forward to the New Year 2021. “I miss my fans and I am looking forward to going on tour again.” He will be appearing in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, New Port Beach, Mexico, Portsmouth, Virginia, and Blues Alley in Washington, DC.
I Sing to Heal Souls
FREDDO written by BARIDIDUM LEEMA Nigeria, Africa
The music and entertainment industry in Nigeria is a lucrative venture that has provided the platform for some notable and famous musicians such as Wizkid, DAVIDO, and Burna Boy to turn it to their goldmine. These three Nigerian music icons have taken the name of the country to the world map in the music and entertainment industry. To buttress this assertion, Burna Boy was a nominee for the American Grammy award last year, while the duo of DAVIDO and WIZKID have both won several music awards at the international scene on many occasion. Their genre of music, which is regarded as Afro HIP HOP, (that is African HIP HOP), is the toast of the young generation in Nigeria and Africa by extension. No wonder upcoming artists in Nigeria take the trio as role models and aspire to attain their level of affluence with the mindset of acquiring mansions and flashy cars and live a luxurious and flamboyant lifestyle. This is no doubt the dream and aspiration of an upcoming artist in the south -south region of Nigeria , a 29 year old Fred Zuguru who is better known by his stage name as FREDDO. Born on the 8th of January in a rural community known as Opu-oko in the Ogoni region of Niger Delta in 1990, this young talented dance party sensation who idolizes in Nigeria music super star Wizkid, started his education at Methodist nursery and primary school at Bori in 1994, where he acquired
his first School Leaving Certificate (SLC) in 2001. He thereafter proceeded to attend community secondary school (high school) in Buako rural community in the year 2002 and graduated in 2007. Freddo started his music career in 2015 with his debut single known as SHALEWA, which means sexy girl in Yoruba slangs, a major language spoken by a large and dominant ethnic group in Nigeria. Presently, his major hit single titled ‘Daddy Chocolate’ is already receiving air plays on both TV and radio stations in the city of Port Harcourt, headquarters of Rivers state in southern Nigeria, which is making him gain popularity in his local and rural community. Incidentally, FREDDO who is nurturing the ambition to hit the stardom in the nearest future and take his music career to the international scene, was the star performer at a concert organized recently to mark and commemorate the Ogoni Martyrs day held annually on November 10. Ogoni Martyrs day is a day set aside by Ogonis, a minority ethnic group in south-south region of Nigeria to remember their fallen heroes who died in course of the Ogoni agitation for environmental justice in Nigeria and FREDDO mesmerized the audience with his musical prowess.
In fact, the moment the MC of the occasion mentioned his name as the next artist to perform on the occasion, the audience mostly dressed in black outfits with the image of late human right hero, Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other Ogoni martyrs boldly drawn on their t-shirts began to holla FREDDO to announce his arrival on stage. And the young lad made sure the audience, especially his fans, got more than what they bargained for as he stole the show and upstaged them with his sterling performance in an event COVID 19 protocol was ignored. However, communiqué Magazine cornered him for an interview after his performance on stage and he was full of excitement and gratitude to grant the request. Hear him: “It was a great moment for me to perform on the Ogonis Martyrs day. To me it’s a milestone achievement in my music career because Ogoni Martyrs day is a day all Ogonis all over the world come together and remember our fallen heroes. I use my music to heal the soul of the depressed and oppressed. If you are depressed and sad, the moment you are able to listen to my music, you will get solace and become happy. That is what I owe my fans. Doing music gives me joy and it is my mission is to use my music to make the society a place of haven and tranquility”, he said with finality.
Laughter is His Best Medicine: Honoring Stand Up Comedian
Darrell Banks written by Corretta L. Doctor
What is comedy? Several variations of the definition all culminate into this basic understanding of the word: professional entertainment consisting of jokes and satirical sketches, intended to make an audience laugh. What is a comedian? Wait let me rephrase that, who is a really GOOD comedian, one that you would line up to see, waiting for hours in the snow or rain, just to make sure you had a seat in the room? That would be Darrell Banks. Darrell Banks is a comedian with a story. There is a part of his story that is no laughing matter. Darrell is a massive stroke survivor. He suffered a massive stroke on stage, during a performance, that left the audience thinking that the confusion and sudden illness was a part of the comedy act. Sadly, it was not. Darrell was sick and the stroke left him with some serious, life changing challenges, mainly it impacted his ability to verbally communicate. Darrell is not only a comedian at heart, but he is also a man with a big heart, and that is why the comedy industry loves him dearly. An outpour of support came his way from fellow comedians near and far. Several of the comedians got together and held a comedy show fundraiser in support of Darrell. Anyone can make you laugh, but few can stir your soul giving you a lasting smile like Darrell Banks can. Darrell is well loved by those he shared stages with and by those he met from behind the mic. Darrell Banks could fill a room on any given day! Though he is doing well these days, he no longer performs comedy. Hailing from Toledo, Ohio, Darrell first appeared on stage as a professional, paid comedian in New York on Black Entertainment Television’s (BET) Comic View, where he received a very memorable standing ovation. Listening to the hands clapping,
seeing the faces smiling, and feeling the energy from the audience was the exact response he wanted and surely it was the response he deserved. Darrell knew at that moment that he was on his way to the top of the industry as a successful comedian….a job that he loved and one that came so naturally to him. Starting out in his early days as a comedian, and long before he broke fully into the industry, Darrell studied and looked up to many comedians that came before him. He particularly calls out Richard Pryor as the one comedian that he most likely emulates the most in his style. Darrell is widely known in the industry for his raw, ‘straight with no chaser’ type of comedy. Darrell enjoyed his comedic lifestyle traveling the world, working with other great talent, and of course the pay was pretty good! Every comedian has a natural tendency to make you laugh hysterically. They are gifted with the talent to help you see the lighter side of things. When we wanted to know who makes Darrell laugh, he clearly indicated two very funny comedians: Eddie Murphy and Dave Chappelle. Darrell reminds us to use laughter as a stress reliever. He says that comedy changed his life. It [comedy] takes him out of stressful situations; laughter is the best medicine. We continue to wish Darrell well as he strives to improve his health. Married to wife Charlene, he is in a happy place of peace, faith, and gratitude; one that is embellished with a loving family and a strong brother and sisterhood of fellow comedians from near and far. Visit www.stroke.org to learn more about strokes, life after strokes, help, support, and healthy living. Information is key. Knowing the signs and symptoms can save a life.
Apply Pressure, Remain Humble How many of us can say that 2020 was the start of a great new career, one that you love and is still thriving with a promise of a great continued future? Wavey Crockett raises both hands! communiqué Magazine: What has Comedy done for your life? Wavey Crockett: Comedy has provided opportunities I never would’ve imagined. My very first time on stage was January 27, 2020. A worldwide pandemic shut everything down in early March. I began to do standup virtual shows. By July I was booked for my first feature. By September I was booked for my first out of town show, and it was in New York which was huge for me. And now I’m opening for national known comics. It almost scared me how fast I’m moving but it motivates me. The level in which others believe in me gives me the motivation necessary to keep going. I’ve met numerous of celebrities and big time comics and most are genuine and have no problem reaching back and giving me advice, and for that I’m thankful. It’s safe to say I see my career going places. communiqué Magazine: Where is the first stage you ever appeared on as a professional comedian? What do you remember most about that gig? Wavey Crockett: My first paid gig was in New York City in Central Park. Being a newcomer, being offered that opportunity was truly an experience because I was where the biggest stages for comics are. New York is home to everything stage from Broadway to SNL so being on a stage there was surreal. communiqué Magazine: What do you think the comedy industry will look like post-Covid 19? Wavey Crockett: Covid certainly took a toll on the entertainment industry as a whole. At this point options for stage time are few so everyone has to adjust. To me it’s hard for internet/social comedians to step on stage. It’s equally as hard for stage comics to make the adjustment to the internet. We need people in the room. We are fueled by the sounds of laughter. So, at this point it’s looking like if we aren’t willing to make the switch to internet comic we only have the spring and summer to be on outdoor stages.
communiqué Magazine: Which comedian, (living or deceased), is someone that you emulate in your style? Wavey Crockett: Honestly, I can’t pick just one. My inspirations come from a lot of the greats. So, I won’t say I emulate any, but I’m influenced by Dave Chappelle, George Carlin, Redd Foxx, Dick Gregory, Bernie Mac, Richard Pryor, and Eddie Murphy to name just a few. communiqué Magazine: Who makes you laugh? Wavey Crockett: Aside from the aforementioned comics, my friends and family always provide me with great material. communiqué Magazine: What type of comedy do you deliveradult, clean, Christian, etc. Wavey Crockett: I would say I’m definitely an adult comic. As a husband with 7 children it’s pretty hard to keep it clean all the time. communiqué Magazine: What is the most important part of your career as a comedian? Wavey Crockett: What’s important in my career is to have fun. It was once said that “if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life”. So, it’s always important for me to love the stage and have fun. It makes for better sets when I’m having fun. communiqué Magazine: Are you married, have children? Wavey Crockett: Yes, I am Happily Married to my wife of 15 years, Jade. Together we have 6 children and I also have another son. We have the rare chance of being parents to 2 sets of twins. I messed up a lot and we made up a lot. And yes, we had twins back to back. communiqué Magazine: Where is your happy place, and why? Wavey Crockett: My happy place is with my family and friends. I don’t exactly come from a “model” background. It was actually a time when I hid my pain behind my laughter and silliness. I’ve always been a joker however I wasn’t ready to get on stage until I was able to close some chapters and put some pains in proper prospective. So, going through what I’ve been through, I cherish life and those close to me a lot more.
communiqué Magazine: What is the best part about being YOU? Wavey Crockett: Hey what do you mean? I’m Wavey!!! What’s there not to love? No, on a serious note the best part about being me is my Love for others. I stay Wavey (blessed) for a reason. I am one who does not mind giving all of myself to others. Sometimes even perfect strangers. You never know what lesson or blessing is in meeting people. And I kind of feel that being that way keeps me and my family blessed. communiqué Magazine: Where were you born and raised and where do you reside now? Wavey Crockett: I am Detroit!!! I was born here, been here all my life (with the exception of the military), I am raising my family here, and I own here (and within the city limits, not Metropolitan Detroit) communiqué Magazine: Do you have siblings, and if yes where are you in the birth order? Wavey Crockett: Yes. I am the youngest and best looking of 7!!! communiqué Magazine: Tell us about your parents, are they alive? What do/did they think of your Comedy life? Wavey Crockett: Unfortunately, my birth parents both passed away from cancer when I was young. I’m biracial. My mom was white and from rural Ohio. My dad was black and from the Eastside of Detroit. However, from a baby I was raised by my mom and her 2 sisters. The 3 of them each loved, and continue to love me, as if I were each one of their own child. To be honest my mother is one of the most raw and real people I know. Maybe where I get it from. She told me “Are you really that funny enough to be a comedian”...I was hurt but I didn’t let it stop or deter me. Once I showed her one of my sets and she was in tears laughing, from then on out she’s been my 9th biggest fan (behind the wife and kids). communiqué Magazine: What is the next big thing for you and how can fans and followers reach you? Wavey Crockett: Well I’m with the rest of the world, we are kinda all playing it by ear due to Covid. My Facebook is Wavey Crockett and my Instagram is @waveycrockettcomedy I can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org I have a saying: Apply Pressure, Remain Humble which basically means work as hard as I can but never lose sight of the humility that got me here.
Comedian Mic Larry Reveals All: Grief, Trauma, and Homelessness written by Saadia White His voice was so full of good humor and laughter that one could never imagine the loss, grief, and trauma that comedian “Mic Larry” Williams experienced entering adulthood. Comedy is humorous; life is not. Raised in a two-parent household in a low-income community in Detroit, Michigan and is the oldest of four children, Larry Williams recalls his parents as hard-working disciplinarians who were big on “respect.” Mic Larry attributes his core values, strong beliefs, and family structure to his parents. Tragically, his mother, who never had any health problems, would die unexpectedly from emergency surgery. Her death shifted the role that Mic Larry would play from big brother to part-time caregiver to his younger brother and two sisters while his father worked to support them. Two years after his mother passed right before his scheduled first year at Central Michigan University on a full-ride football scholarship, Mic Larry would come face-to-face with tragedy once again that changed his family dynamics: “I remembered lying on the car, looking up saying: ‘Oh man, this might be it.’” Larry was struck by a drunk driver, pinned in between two vehicles, and almost lost his life. His father, who took the law into his own hands to avenge the near-death of his son, was arrested for assaulting the drunk driver and spent one year in jail. Now with no mother, a father in jail, and no potential football career, Mic Larry began to feel as though there was nothing left to live for. He sunk into a deep depression, gaining over 100 lbs., and with no motivation. He and his siblings would move in with his grandmother during the time his dad was in prison and he was rehabilitating. Never receiving any professional counseling, Comedian Mic Larry had this to say in a very humorous tone about therapy: “You know, black folks didn’t get therapy back then. They just ate some sweet tarts and a little potato chips and carried on. But seriously, I realized a lot of black folks go through trauma and don’t seek counseling and I feel that therapy is so important in our community especially now, with all that’s going on. We all have a story and it may be deeper than one could handle.” Some say trauma and loss have a way of bringing an individual closer to God and this seemed true for Mic Larry. In the short
time that he lived with his grandmother, Larry shared that she nurtured his spiritual side by reintroducing him to the bible. This ultimately helped to lift his spirits and motivate him to reclaim his life. “Scriptures that she poured into me helped me then and are helping me till this day, like the 91st Psalms.” As he was healing, Mic Larry became involved with a young woman whom he eventually married and bore two children with (a boy and girl). Though the marriage lasted ten years, he admits it was a very toxic relationship: “We were both young and it just didn’t work out.” When he lost his job and entered the beginning stages of comedy, unfortunately marital problems would arise which led to divorce. With hardcore family values embedded in him, Mic Larry did not want to break up his family and become a weekend dad. He eventually succumbed to granting her the divorce, leaving her with his children, the house, and one of the vehicles while he took the other vehicle to live out of. Homeless with no job, no wife, no children, and living out of his car, Comedian Mic Larry was challenged with facing another devastating life situation. Still showing a sense of resiliency and determined to stay active in his children’s lives, he continued to spend time with them. Not even a month after the divorce, his exwife shared with him that she would be taking his children and moving out of state. Heartbroken about not being in a financially stable position to fight for his family, he decided to do what was in their best interest which was allowing them to stay with a more stable parent. However, his ex-wife decided to leave and not take the children with her which meant he would be homeless with his children. Mic Larry, his eight-year-old son, and his four-year-old daughter spent the entire summer living out of his car. They would bathe in gyms and various other places while spending countless hours in the park. “My daughter did not know we were homeless and this became one of my running jokes. We spent the whole day in the park and, when we woke up in the car the next day at the park, my daughter was so happy and she said: ‘Dad, you’re the best dad. We’re at the park again!’” Mic Larry’s life began to look hopeful after he met and fell in love with his current wife, NaKesha. NaKesha opened her home to him and his two children while they were homeless. They would
later marry and become a blended family with six children between them. It was with his wife that he would begin to see the fruits of his labor and his comedic life skyrocket along with his acting career. He was blessed to be the host for seven years of his clean comedy show, Bless the Mic, where he showcased a lot of his personal family moments. Mic Larry’s love of fatherhood and struggle as a single homeless father prompted him to create a program called 100% Real Fathers. He created that program due to the adversities he was challenged with while homeless with his two children. In conjunction with his first program, he created 100% Real Mothers which provides resources to single mothers. He has also become an advocate for the homeless and hungry communities and is a role model and mentor for many of the inner-city youth. Administering feed programs in many of the impoverished areas of Detroit, Michigan, he has an annual show which he has produced called Laughter and Food for the Soul. This is a comedy show that provides food and shelter for the homeless in Detroit, Michigan. Withstanding loss, grief, trauma, and homelessness as a single parent, Mic Larry has triumphed through life and has overcome the stereotypes that Black American fathers are often labeled with. “Sometimes I wanted to give up. I was at a breaking point at one time but just don’t give up. Keep God first and keep praying.” You can follow Comedian Mic Larry at ComedianMicLarry.com and on the following social media channels: Facebook and Instagram: @ComedianMicLarry Twitter: @MicLarryComedy YouTube: Just Us Web series, youtu.be/NOc1XdEwFu0.
A Laugh Accompanied By A
Simply Shanell made her professional comedian debut at ‘All Jokes Aside’ in Detroit, Michigan and she has been on a roll ever since! “I was on my way home from work as a Juvenile Detention Specialist, after having a terrible day. A
on the radio with an advertisement for open mic night at the club. I went, signed up, performed, and I won the $50 prize and I still don’t have a clue what I said. I just remember feeling much lighter.” This is an example of doing what makes you feel good…unapologetically
brothers (Rob, Emanuel, and Allen), and five sisters, Keely, Tonya, Jahmira, Susan and Sharde). My older sister Keely died in 2004, so I’m the oldest now”. Simply Shanell talks about her life, “The best part about being me is, I’m an original. There is only one me. I’m Grown, Faithful,
Respectful, Humble, Honest, and LOYAL. I am the parent of two children. Although they aren’t children anymore; my son Jailin is 25, and my daughter Shelly is 38 and Shelly is recently divorced with 6 children. Yes, I have 6 grandchildren ages 6-19.
and without remorse. Lately with the uncertainties of
“I’ve had VERY Good
the world, the surmounting
parents. my mom, Vernell
tragedy, and unprecedented trauma, life can feel short but we can fill our days with laughter, and thanks to
Farris Taylor is a Minister, and she is funny. Both of my dads are no longer here. My birth dad,
comedians like the amazing Simply Shanell,
Robert Farris, was awesome and a lot of
that is what many of us are learning to do.
fun. Daddy was a big kid. I remember us going to the grocery store and
Simply Shanell was born in Winston Salem, North Carolina however
winding up at a boat dealership and daddy buying a boat
she was raised between North
and us going boating
Carolina and Detroit. She
instead. My second dad,
went to elementary, middle, and high school in both states. “I come from a large, blended family. I have three
was the nicest man I ever met. I actually introduced him to my mom
when I was 14. Both of my Dads were so proud of me
actually most of my family, has a comedic bone. As
and bragged to all of their friends about me. My mom
far as professional comics, two comedians that always
actually was the one who encouraged me to do clean
tickle my funny bone are Tony Roberts and Howie
comedy. She said, “Shanell maybe God got you doing
comedy for us church folks, we want to laugh too. We just don’t want to hear all that cussing and talk about
Simply Shanell’s genre of comedy is “Family Friendly”
sex.” She also booked me for my first church show”.
Comedy. “Some people like to call it Christian comedy or Clean comedy. I prefer to call it Family Friendly
We all look at back on life but not everyone agrees
Comedy because you can enjoy my comedy from age
that their careers have contributed greatly to their
15 to 105 years old. The most important part is making
personal life. Shanell proudly attributes her good life
sure people feel better leaving my comedy show than
to her hard work and her comedy career. “Comedy
they felt coming in. Laughter releases toxins in the
has done so much for my life. The main one being,
body and I want to make sure my audience laugh”.
Freedom. Comedy has allowed me to see the world. I’ve
Some of us pick an exotic island as our happy place,
entertained the U.S. Troops in Germany, South Korea,
or a special room in the home, but not our friend,
and Japan. I’ve performed in Aspen, Colorado for HBO
here is Simply Shanell’s take on ‘her favorite place’, she
and TBS. I’ve been able to make people laugh all across
says “My happy place is my vehicle. I love driving. I’ve
America. Comedy gave me my Happy Place in Life”.
driven from Detroit to North Carolina in eight hours. I love being in my car because I control everything
We asked Simply Shanell to tell us her opinion on how
about it; the temperature, music, and speed, LOL”.
the comedy business will endure after COVID-19, and of course we have great anticipation and hope
Comedians are free flowing spirits that can pretty
that the fears and loss of COVID-19 will eventually go
much control their own destiny. We asked Simply
away. Her response, “I think the comedy industry will
Shanell what’s next for her and her comedy career,
rebound great. However, the comic pay will decrease
“I have a no idea what God has next for me. I’m just
due to lower attendance which is due to social distance
waiting for the next opportunity to showcase myself.
requirements.” With many businesses fighting to stay
However, I am very excited about my upcoming
above water, we understand that safety is key even if we
comedy show with Americas largest Black Ski Club in
feel the impact in our paychecks.
Aspen, Colorado in January 2021”.
Simply Shanell is surrounded by laughter. She has an
Stay connected and follow Simply Shanell on Twitter,
infectious smile that will capture your heart but beyond
FB or you can email her at email@example.com.
that smile, she can bend you in half with laughter when she steps on stage and performs her show. She reflects on her family and those that help keep her smiling, “My brother Robert, he is Stupid!!!!! My mom Vernell, and communiqué Magazine
Keeping up with the
A LOVE STO RY T H AT I S AS F U NNY AS I T I S R O MANT I C written by Alesha Brown Depending on how you know him, comedian Geno Jones is either the funny man you love or the Game Recognizes Game author that you wish did not tell all of men’s game secrets. Keeping all of this in mind, I wanted to know the inside scoop of how Mr. Game Recognizes Game met the love of his life. As to be expected, the story of their first encounter depends on which lover you ask. Mrs. Damaris Jones said that Geno did come in with a little Chicago swag when he introduced himself and gave her his number for her to call. He left almost as fast as he entered. Of course, being a comedian, even this encounter was riddled with humorous moments. For starters, Geno was denied access into the club where his future wife, Damaris was. He was told he was on the guest list and the doorman said he did not have his name. As Geno left, a good friend of his spotted him and cleared him so he could gain access.
And there was where things took a romantic turn. Geno recalled when he first spotted Damaris across the room. He said it was “love at first sight” when she caught his eye at a radio show dance-a-thon event. “It was just like in the movieseverything just stopped and all he could see was ‘a fine woman in a white blouse.’” He was so nervous when he approached her and gave her his number. He didn’t see anyone but her. He told us he remembered it “like it was yesterday” and, throughout the interview, he continuously referred to her as “breathtakingly beautiful.” Mrs. Jones had a tale of another kind. Damaris says it was not love at first sight because they were “at a club.” She remembered his “celebrity status” since he worked for a radio station and a lot of people at the party knew him. She also remembered him having a little Chicago “swag” as he approached her. So with his
Chicago swag, driving a fancy car, and being the local celebrity, what made her continue? The answer makes me think that perhaps they should start a husband-andwife standup routine. She said that Geno promised her a lobster and steak dinner so she was going to at least call him and make sure he made good on his promise. With time she would learn that he was a very loving and caring man. She adored seeing how he was with his mom, family, and people in general. She described him as a man that “loves and loves passionately.” Is that not what we all want in a partner or friend? And even though the Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus theory seems to be a reality, do not believe that all men have poor memories when it comes to the details. Geno surprised me with all the details he remembered about their first date including the first movie they saw. So I asked him exactly when he knew it was serious between them. He remembered telling his boys how much he enjoyed hanging out with her. Even the sexual tension that typically exists between men and women did not between them. He enjoyed hanging out with Damaris like she was one of the boys but he knew she was not. And, of course, Damaris had a different answer. The reveal for her came when Geno’s radio job moved him to Detroit. When he left, Damaris realized how much she “really liked him and how sweet he was.” One of the sweet things that almost made me pass out, (you will too), was when he left his brand new car with her. Damaris was a single mother and her car was having mechanical problems. Geno refused to leave her with no car and left behind his car, a brand new Porsche. (Apparently,
I do not know love because I cannot fathom doing the same for anyone. Maybe a “Porsche bicycle” if there was such a thing, but the car?) Not only was it a brand new Porsche, but Geno told us that it was all black, with a black leather interior, and a $3,000 sound system. Damaris used it to carry her baby and her nieces and nephews in the back seat. Oh he was in LOVE since they had only been together for even a year! The lovebirds would not be apart for too long. Damaris eventually relocated to Detroit after procuring a job in her field of Marketing. But before she moved to Detroit and unbeknownst to her, Geno had started one-by-one ending his relationships with other female “friends.” He did not even discuss doing this with friends but just did it. One “female friend” even wanted to follow him to Detroit, but he did not want to string her along or have any of the others believe there was a future possibility. They have been together for twenty-five years. So what is the advice for making love work? Geno points out loving your partner the way he or she wants to be loved. People tend to have their own definition of love and how to demonstrate it which often varies from their partner’s definition. He learned this the hard way until he listened to the best piece of advice that his mother gave him: “You can’t always be right. It can’t always be your way.” (Damaris recalled that she told him that several times, but he only listened to it when he heard it from his mother.) Here is where another lesson unfolded. Geno said that he did listen to
Damaris, but as the only boy and oldest child of his family, he was accustomed to doing things his way and trying to be the “fixer.” Damaris highlighted a lot of compromise and working with your lover. You identify the differences your partner has but you do not want to change or take that away from him or her. She highlights working together and cultivating your love to make it grow. Love has “a lot of give and take.” She emphasizes the importance of listening to what your partner is saying and not interpreting it. Sometimes partners are so busy trying to interpret what the other is saying that they are not listening and that is why the partner does not feel heard. Damaris stresses that listening and compromise will take you a long way in any relationship. According to Geno, Damaris was being kind and did not want to hurt his feelings. He shared that he was a “piece of work” and Damaris has had to do the most compromising in their relationship. Even he asks why she stayed so long. One of the challenges they had in their relationship centered around Geno’s insecurities concerning finances. Geno has always been a provider, taking care of his mother financially since her health challenges as well as taking care of his nieces and nephews. He never wanted his wife to be envious of other women and how they were taking care of. He wanted his wife to have the best house, nails and hair done, go on the best vacations, and for her and their daughters to have the best of everything including namebrand labels. He never felt that he was making enough money to financially support his family and the vision he had for how he wanted them to live. Damaris, on the other hand, was not interested in the high life vision he had. They lived well and the grandiose financial vision he had did not appeal to her. He almost lost her at one point and, once again, his mother advised her son to “love Damaris the way she wants to be loved and not the way you want to love her.” It was at this point that their relationship took a turn. Of course, there is another comedic tale courtesy of Geno. A friend told Geno that the Oprah show at that time was looking for people to date by a personal ad. Geno, remember he is a comedian, sent in a personal’s ad type response for the possibility to get on the show. His personal’s ad said he was looking for a woman who was fine, sexy, could cook fried catfish, hot water cornbread, greens, liked loud music and fast cars, and did not mind scrubbing a tub. Damaris knew nothing about this list prior to meeting him and even after they were married. A month later, Oprah’s producer called and wanted him to be on the show. Geno swears it was a prank because he did not think they would
ever call him but they did and he had to keep the rouse going. The two still laugh about it to this day. Just in case you’re wondering, she does not do any of the things on his list. I think one of the lessons we learn from the Geno and Damaris Jones love story is that our destiny is often greater than our vision. As a child that witnessed the domestic violence his mother experienced, Geno never thought that he would get married. Seeing what his mother went through, he was unsure if he could trust who he really was and would not take his kindness for weakness. He did not want to take a woman through anything he saw in his childhood. He used to tell his mother that he would one day have“Team Geno”, a group of women each fulfilling a different need. You can see why his friends were shocked when he met Damaris and started hanging out with her all the time. She was so beautiful, warm, and loving that his spirit relaxed and felt so comfortable around him. He could just look at her and feel her love. Life had a different plan, one where he is not only a kind, compassionate, and loving husband but an amazing father of two beautiful daughters. He shared that Damaris and his daughters changed the man he was and there is nothing better on this earth than being a father to his two wonderful daughters. Once again, love wins and reigns above all. So, me being a realist and single woman, I had to ask Geno the obvious question. So many women will say that they show men the same things he admired in Damaris and while her love transformed him, they have not experienced the same from the men they have been in relationships with. Geno reminded me of who said it was love at first sight? Him. Okay, Mr. Game Recognizes Game, but he is absolutely right, which is why I recommend that EVERY single woman read his book! (I am still trying to convince him to come out with the updated version because we need MORE.) Connect with Geno Jones through the following social media handles and points of contact: Twitter: @GenoJones Instagram: @genojonesshow YouTube: The Geno Jones Daily Live Show Facebook: @GenoJonesLive Email: firstname.lastname@example.org To get your hands on a copy of Game Recognizes Game, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Game-Recognize-Real-WhatRelationships/dp/1477202455
e c n e s e Pr
written by Corretta L. Doctor with Portia Perry Her overall brand represents every dream she ever had and creates a promising future for all of her endeavors. Paula G Voice is her own example. We must be able to clearly state or describe exactly the nature, scope, or meaning of our lives. Ask yourself, who am I and what is my purpose? Paula explains that she is now walking in her “might have been” and she encourages others to do the same. “My mindset was holding me back from being Paula G
Voice in radio, TV, voiceover, and contributing to
understand how to mitigate obstacles that may
a magazine. I was at the point of being sick and
prevent them from moving forward. Each stage also
tired and really needing to move forward. When
includes a 45-60-minute video session with Paula.
I got to the point that I could no longer exist in the place of where I was, it was then that I took a
After 23 years, Paula became divorced from
leap. Just leap and the net will appear. I prayed for
her military husband, right in the midst of his
wisdom and discernment before I moved forward
retirement. She became single and civilian, and those
with anything. I looked for the fire that was shut
are two major transitions that are unimaginable
up in my bones”.
to happen simultaneously. “I was emotionally broken. Our marriage became a casualty of war
Paula decided to swim into her dreams. She
because my husband went to war and a stranger
decided that if she began to drown, she would
came back. My entire existence shattered around
find a way to get to the top instead of going
me. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is
back to the shallow and safe end. Paula shares
real. War changes the soldier. They cannot come
her greatest example of putting those words into
back the same. You can work to attempt to move
motion, “I was a professional school counselor
forward in your personal life, but the relationship
and I had appointments, lined up from start to
doesn’t always survive the unsurmountable amount
finish. I had an overwhelming amount of work
of stress that accompanies the soldier that returns
that drowned me, and I felt like I couldn’t breathe,
from combat. The divorce was a matter of survival
it was the month of October in the school year.
for my children and I”.
The awakening moment came while I stood there and looked at my desk. I could hear the voices of
She was once so many titles that she never focused.
the students and the world turned into a cyclone.
Paula could finally define herself. Paula became able
I was fully educated and armed with everything
to clearly identify and pronounce her presence and
I needed to be a success, except the desire to be
she is focused to help others do the same. Paula
more of my authentic self ”.
is the author of "My Journey to Lady Wisdom After Midnight" Available on Amazon. Visit www.
Paula’s first step towards shifting her mindset was
paulagvoice.com to learn more and stay connected
working on her subconsciousness to stop doing
to Paula G. Voice.
old habits. Up until then her life was methodical. Paula created ‘The Mindset Journey Course’, a fiveweek program that takes clients through five stages before they can step out into the “might have been”. It is a self-paced course. After each person listens to the audio and uses the downloadable worksheets, the end result will help unlock hinderances and communiqué Magazine
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s m a i l l i Joi W
communiquĂŠ Magazine 100
Credits Managing Editor Alesha Brown Front Cover Design/Lead Designer Brandon Jolly Brandon Graphic Designs www.brangraphicd.com
Brian McKnight Cover Image Pages 49, 52, 53 Images Owned by Brian McKnight Table of Contents Watermark Photographer: Jerry A. Barnes Models: Shadae Candice and Marcus Jenkins Wardrobe/Stylist: JABarnes Photography LLC Page 17 Eric Brooks Photographer: Roy Cox Photography Page 21 Eric Brooks Photographer: Ricco Winters Pages 23, 25, 27 Dr. Ketra L. Davenport-King Photographer: Tavis, For Beauty Sake Page 28 Photographer: Jeff Martin Model: Olethia Padilla IG: @ms.o_thegoddess Stylist: Jeff Martin Martin Studio Photography IG: @martinstudiophotography Location: SkyLoft F IG: @skyloftrentalstudio www.martinstudiophotography.com
Pages 29, 31-34, Back Cover Wijkstrom Family Photographer: Kylie Altvatter at Rae of Sunshine Photo www.raeofsunshinephotos.com Page 39 Dr. Eric L. Holmes Photographer: RM Photography Pages 41, 44 Reneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Gordon Photographer: Blackberry Molasses Photography MUA: Glam Goddess- Taylor Christina Page 46 Apostle J.L. Cash Photographer: David R. Watkins of Kingdom Workers International Photography Pages 55-56 Photographer: Jeff Martin Model: Rudo Kemper Stylist/Set: Jeff Martin Martin Studio Photography IG: @martinstudiophotography Location: SkyLoft F IG: @skyloftrentalstudio www.martinstudiophotography.com Page 57 Jus Janell Photographer: Mike Peeler Photography Page 60 Rashida Z Photographer: Tahj Jones
Pages 63-64 Model: Octavia Hike Photographer: Jeff Martin Stylist/Set: Jeff Martin Martin Studio Photography IG: @martinstudiophotography Location: SkyLoft F IG: @skyloftrentalstudio www.martinstudiophotography.com Pages 65-66 Dawn Angela Mickens Photographer: Sowele Email: email@example.com Pages 69-71 Model: Justin Boddie Photographer: Terrell D. Anderson Photography: TDA Productions IG: @_rellda www.relldapro.com Page 73, 76 Jackiem Joyner Photographer: Anna Webber Page 75 Jackiem Joyner Photographer: Alvin Kim Page 82 Wavey Crockett Photography By: Authentic Media Group Pages 88-89 Photographer: Darryl Noisette of DaNoiz Photography Pages 100, 101-102 Photographer: Jerry A. Barnes Model: Joi Williams Designer: VanMiller International MUA: Allen Jones Stylist: JoHonda Rogers communiqué Magazine does not take credit for any Photographs provided by the interviewees. All images are used with the permission granted by the subjects of the articles or by the Photographers listed on the credits page. Any errors or omissions will be corrected on the magazine’s website or in the subsequent issue.
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